Installation Walkthrough

When the installer starts the first screen it presents offers license terms for pfSense® software which the user must accept before installation.


Installer License

Read the terms carefully. Use the Page Down and Page Up keys to display additional license text. Press Enter to Accept the terms and proceed.

Rescue Options

First, the installer prompts to launch rescue options or start the Install process.


Rescue Options

Use the arrow keys to select an option, then press Enter. The options on this screen are:


Continue installing pfSense software

Rescue Shell

Starts a basic shell prompt where advanced users can perform tasks to prepare the hardware in ways not fully supported by the installer, or to perform diagnostic tests or repairs on the firewall.

Recover config.xml

Attempts to recover a pfSense software configuration file from a target disk in the system. See Recover config.xml From Existing Installation for details.

Keymap Selection

The Keymap Selection screen selects the keyboard layout used by the installer.


Keymap Selection

For the majority of users with a standard PC keyboard, press Enter to select Continue with default Keymap. If the keyboard used for the console has a different layout, such as from countries other than the US, find it in the list and select it instead. After making a selection, return to the top of the list and either choose Test default keymap or Continue.


This selection is only for the installer, the value is not retained post-install.

Partition / Filesystem Selection

The Partitioning step selects the filesystem for the firewall’s target disk.

The ZFS filesystem type is more reliable and has more features than UFS, however ZFS can be memory hungry. Either filesystem will work on hardware with several GB of RAM, but if RAM usage is critical to other tasks that will run on this firewall, UFS is a more conservative choice. For hardware that requires UEFI, use ZFS.



The optionson this screen work as follows:

Auto (ZFS)

Launches the ZFS configuration section of the installer. See ZFS for details.


Automatically creates partitions and formats the disk with UFS and a traditional/legacy BIOS style boot environment.


Automatically creates partitions and formats the disk with UFS and a UEFI boot environment.


There are occasional incompatibilities between FreeBSD and UEFI implementations. If the system fails to boot after installing with a UEFI option, configure the hardware for BIOS/legacy booting and choose that installation option instead.


Manually create partitions and filesystems.


Open a shell prompt to configure disks, partitions, and filesystems by hand.


If installer cannot find any drives, or if it shows incorrect drives, it is possible that the desired drive is attached to an unsupported controller or a controller set for an unsupported mode in the BIOS. See Troubleshooting Installation Issues for help.

The process varies slightly depending on the selected filesystem type, so follow the section below that matches the filesystem type to be used by this firewall.

Continue with the Install

Sit back, wait, and have a few sips of coffee while the installation process formats the drive(s) and copies pfSense software files to the target disk(s).


Partitioning and Formatting


Reading install media and copying to target drive

Select No when prompted to make final modifications.


Prompt for final modifications

Select Reboot to restart the firewall


Prompt to reboot

Remove the installation media from the firewall during the reboot, when the hardware is starting back up but before it boots from the disk.

Congratulations, the installation is complete!